Parents Ask Upland Council To Restore Crossing Guards In Wake Of Child’s Death

(October 31)  At the October 27 Upland City Council meeting, a sizeable contingent of residents, predominantly concerned parents, turned up to address the city council on the need for crossing guards in the aftermath of the death of Isaiah Shelton, a sixth-grader at Cabrillo Elementary.
Young Shelton was killed in a hit-and-run accident on his way to school October 23 as he  stepped off the southeast curb on Benson Avenue to cross Arrow Highway. He was struck by a white Jeep Cherokee driven, police later said, by Jason Fehr, 25 of Rancho Cucamonga.
Fehr, 25, was arrested and booked on felony hit-and-run charges at the West Valley Detention Center.
In 2009, the city of Upland reprioritized its public safety budget, eliminating paid crossing guards in favor of upping police officer and firefighter pay and benefits. No action to restore that funding has taken place since.
Maxine O’Neill said, “We need to protect our children. Everyday thousands of our children walk the line of life and death. Think about it carefully.”
Melinda Aguirre said, “There are 11,665 students in this school district going without protection every single day until we solve this. Please honor Isaiah. Let’s protect our students. These are your kids, too.”
Christy McKenzie said she was “outraged. You say you are going to do everything except care for our children’s safety.” She then reminded the city council about the upcoming election. “Think about losing your jobs for crossing guards,” she said.
Todd D’Braunstein, a member of the city’s traffic advisory committee, said that he and his colleagues “respectfully” looked for input from the community on the issue of improving pedestrian safety.
D’Braunstein’s colleague on the committee, Rod McAuliffe, lamented that the commission had not held a single meeting for the last two years, which he attributed to malaise on the part of the city council and city management. They, as much as anyone, he said, “failed to act to restore the crossing guards to save these kids.”
Neil Jacoby, a certified public accountant who rides his bike to in the morning said that the traffic on Benson at that hour of the day is heavy and dangerous. “This is horrible,” Jacoby said. “The Bonita Unified School District has crossing guards everywhere. Hopefully this will wake everybody up.”
Billy Velto said he did not understand why there were no crossing guards at present, given that they had been in place when he was a student a relatively few years ago.
Anthony Smith, who had coached Isaiah in a youth sports league, encouraged the council to “get out into the community and meet the kids you are supposed to be protecting.”
Stephanie Logan, who had recently moved to Upland with her family from Redding, told the city council “There will be crossing guards in Upland. My husband has been practicing law for 15 years and I will use him. This must be solved now.”
Tamara Strong, Isaiah’s grandmother, said. “Little things can make a difference. Nothing we can do from this point on can bring back my grandson, but …anything we can do so we don’t lose another child.”

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